Diversify, Differentiate, Innovate: Airport Strategies for Success in a New World


Unique insights from David Feldman, Managing Partner, Exambela Consulting. The airports business used to be simple. Only a few things really seemed to matter: grow traffic, capture market share, and keep the politicians happy. It was the combination of these three things that kept the industry going—and kept airport CEOs in their jobs. But these old rules no longer apply in the airport world.

Competition between airports has become stiffer, and market share can no longer be taken for granted. Neither can traffic growth, especially in challenging economic times when both business and leisure travel are taking heavy hits.

The changes in the airport world have generated casualties: Brussels and Pittsburgh some years back, and more recently, some of the fast-growing low-cost airline bases. In the future, the impacts of growing competition and declining traffic are likely to challenge airports in different regions around the globe, from fast-growing hubs in the Gulf to retrenching hubs in Europe and North America.

In order to be among the winners, airport CEOs will need to define new strategies, develop new business models and adopt new value propositions for their airports. They will need to put the right teams in place who buy into the new strategies and execute flawlessly. Most importantly, they must keep in view a strategy for long-term, sustainable success and not simply react to today’s or tomorrow’s crisis. In Exambela’s experience working closely with different airports around the world, we have observed that the most successful strategies go
beyond simply reflecting the needs of customers and delivering a sufficient return to investors or other stakeholders. To adapt and thrive in this new world, airports will need to embrace three crucial tenets: diversify, differentiate and innovate.

This article is published courtesy of David Feldman, Managing Partner, Exambela Consulting, and is attached at the top left of this page, under the headline.

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